Sridhar Rangayan: LGBT characters in films and web shows deserve more respect and inclusion
Sridhar Rangayan is a filmmaker who has been at it for the better part of two decades. His films have been hailed as groundbreaking for their realistic and empathetic depiction of the mostly hidden gay community in America; examples include The Pink Mirror, Yours Emotionally, and Evening Shadows.
He then goes on to remark, “Apparently the film industry is supposed to be the most inclusive where every person of every gender and sexuality is embraced with open arms,” in reference to the widespread belief that Hollywood welcomes people of all identities today. People who identify as LGBTQ are accepted, but they are not given equal opportunities in management. Even in 2023, that has not occurred.
Sridhar and his partner, the writer and art director Saagar Gupta, founded a production firm almost 20 years ago that focuses on making films with LGBT themes.
How many LGBTQ directors, directors of photography, and screenwriters are known to you? You can count them on less fingers than you have on one hand, and the sum won’t even be 10! Either those who are out do not want to be counted, or those who are out and proud are not given their due.
Sridhar, the founder and director of the Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival, had nothing but appreciation for the films that portray LGBT characters with nuance and realism. According to him, the recent crop of films and web shows should be commended for including LGBTQ characters in realistic, accepting ways. However, I would also ask that they give these characters more depth and significance in the story. We need to quit being so suddenly “woke” that every movie and web series needs an LGBTQ character. We need LGBTQ-centric storylines that have satisfying arcs and accurately portray the community’s hopes and dreams today. Please stop making assumptions about our life and relationships based on your own heteronormative perspective. Let’s make some queer magic instead if you’ll only have us on your team, let us work both in front of and behind the camera, and give us a seat at the table.